Solar Melter Failing
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    15

    Default Solar Melter Failing

    So I have some preety white/yellow wax that im trying to melt down. I used a medium box, with a piece of glass over the box. No matter how long I leave it out in the direct sun with it being 90 plus degrees nothing will melt. I can't figure out why most people say it only takes 20-30 mins and it will melt in direct sunlight. No matter what I try I cannot get the wax to melt. Any suggestions?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,770

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    Post pictures of your setup.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Post pictures of your setup.
    First two are how I have it setup atm, nothing melting. The bottom picture is how it was with medium box, reflective on bottom glass on top with wax enclosed
    image1.jpg
    image2.jpg
    image3.jpg

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,741

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    You will have to insulate the sides and bottom to prevent heat loss in those areas. Also the shiny silver surface is about the worst choice to collect solar gain; Flat black with insulation behind, is king!
    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    I dont understand this word Flat back

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    Isn't aluminum used in solar melters?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    5,231

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    you probably want to set it at an angle to catch the suns rays, like solar panels/\.
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    Quote Originally Posted by wildbranch2007 View Post
    you probably want to set it at an angle to catch the suns rays, like solar panels/\.
    Yea can't do that thank you though :>

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,741

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    Dull surface as opposed to shiny. But dark colour. If you have angled reflector wings to direct more rays into the collector area, shiny aluminum is appropriate there. Those surfaces are reflecting light onto the dull dark surface that absorbs it and heats up. Two different actions each with the appropriate degree of reflectivity and absorption.
    Frank

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,086

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    Do you have an old ice chest? Try using it instead of the box you are using. An ice chest is insulated. The insulation will keep the heat in.

    Flat black is black that is not glossy. It absorbs heat very well.

    Think about a black car with a black interior. It gets really hot in the summer in a black car. The black hood and top of the car get very hot to the touch. The black absorbs the solar rays and gets hot better than other colors. What color are solar panels? Black.

    You know those window shades you can put in your windshield to keep the inside of your car a little bit cooler? What are those made of? The are shiny and reflective. They work by reflecting the solar rays back out of the car. So can you see why that isn't a good idea in a solar melter?
    Zone 5B

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,770

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    It is important that the sun's rays hit the wax directly. A good melter is sloped into the direction of the sun. The slope also allows the melted wax to run down into a pan, that should also be in the rays of the sun. Then box should have shallow sides as to not cast a shadow. In my zone large scale melting ends before the middle of September, as the sun settles down too low in the sky as winter approaches. Look at pictures on the internet.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=sola...EMmAZYhlmu_CM:
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    New Concord, Ohio
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    If you live on the equator your set up is good , otherwise you have to tilt the box to catch the suns rays. Or you could use the double boiler method

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,148

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    here's what i ended up doing:

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...r-than-factory

    the final tweak was painting the inside of the melter flat black.

    the sun is still high enough here for the melter to be effective. i put 11 supers worth of cappings in yesterday and 90% of it melted. the remaining 10% will finish melting today.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Sawyer County,WI USA
    Posts
    364

    Default Re: Solar Melter Failing

    Great advise above; Painting the whole thing (inside and out) 'flat' black, tilting toward the sun....and adding another piece of glass. I think a 2 pane heats up something like 30% faster/hotter.

    Using the sun to melt wax is easier and considerably safer than melting on/in the house stove (NO!!!) or using a hurricane/propane stove outside imo. You just set it up toward the sun and come back later. Best placement to consider for catching the most sunshine is to follow where the sun goes from around 9AM to 3PM, center the placement around 12 O'clock. Unless you're there to move it around that placement should have good results by the time you check it.

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